One of the first things most local search marketers have on their to do lists is getting their listings to appear in a Google Onebox at the top of Google’s search results. To be in the box, you usually need to be in Google’s top local search results. And one of the major factors that influences that are "web references." Web references aren’t links, but in local search results, they act similarly to how links can boost a page in "regular" search results. Here are some ways of quickly accumulating some great web references and bump your local listing towards the top in Google.
What is a web reference?
Google crawls local sites, internet yellow pages (IYPs) and other sources to gather as much information as it can about all the local businesses it has in its index. When it finds a page referencing a business it knows of, it then places that page in the "Web Pages" section of the Google local listing and adds whatever data it has gathered as it sees fit.
1) The more categories the better
When creating your local listing in internet yellow pages or local search channels, make sure to add as many relevant categories as possible. Most typical IYPs will have City+Category pages made throughout their website for Google to index. So if you add your listing to two relevant categories, when Google crawls those pages, they will both be added as to separate web references as seen below:
2) Coupons are more than just an incentive
Google allows you to create coupons to add to your local listing to use as an incentive for customers to choose your business or help market current promotions. What they don’t tell you is that Google also crawls its own coupon pages and can also apply them as a web reference, as well as you can see at the bottom of this example:
3) Throw a party
After you have been successful in the first two steps and getting some great web references, throw a party. But wait, don’t forget to add this party to local event sites like meetup or Yahoo! Upcoming. Google also crawls these sites for local content about the businesses it knows of and, you guessed it, attributes these as web references:
Try these tips — there’s a good chance your competitor is not, and they might give you and advantage they’re missing out on.
Stephen Espinosa is a Local Search Expert and the world’s biggest Chicago White Sox fan. He writes regularly at www.StephenEspinosa.com. He and his dog Carl live in Winchester, CA with his wife Stephanie. The Locals Only column appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.